Posts from October 2023


October 30, 2023

Saturday was one of those Autumn days with a brilliant periwinkle sky and a sun so warm that we had no choice but to peel off our layers and bask in its rays like worshipers of Ra. I sat on a large rock in a small Annex playground with my three children flapping all about me like birds flying towards the sun and relished in the light and the warmth and the feeling that my children are still young enough to want to swoosh down a slide and cuddle up beside me, and old enough to leave me alone to breathe in the sun. Even my teenage daughter, tired from a party the night before, was content to swing on a swing, to sit on a rock. There was a time (yesterday, and a century ago) that all three of them were attached to me like barnacles and the local playground was an extension of our home. Every mother thinks (read: hopes/dreads) that life might stay that way forever, that one day a plaque will go up next to the swings that reads, “she was a good Mum and she swung really high.” Lucky for all of us, it doesn’t. Lucky for all of us, the children find independence, as do we. They latch on from time to time to remind us of that life, and that forever is a flash.

our country

October 23, 2023

I’ve been listening to some Don Williams lately thanks to an Uber driver who played his songs all the way home from my daughter’s riding class last week. Ruby Tuesday, You’re My Best Friend; I know the songs, I’ve just never connected them to a person. I learned that Williams was especially popular in Africa, where he had enthusiastic fans in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast. “He was my Dad’s favourite singer,” he said. “Africa loves country music.” It makes sense that it’s a genre that resonates with people all over the world, with anyone struggling to make ends meet, feed a family, put kids through school. Anyone who feels let down by their government. “He loved Dolly Parton, too.” Kamel told us how his dad was strict, how he held him back from playing professional football. “I listen to the way you talk to your daughter, my Dad never talked to me like that.” I told him how I used to ride in the backseat of my Dad’s car every Sunday night listening to Neil Diamond, how Diamond is my Williams. It’s funny how music weaves its way into a soul, how twenty, fourty years later, we listen to the music from our childhoods and remember.


October 22, 2023

Andrew Baseman is an interior designer, author and set decorator with a passion for repaired ceramics. His blog, Past Imperfect explores the world of “make-do” repairs, spotlighting broken objects, such as an antique cream jug with makeshift metal handle, that someone chose to bring back to life. We live in a throw-away world, and it’s humbling and inspiring to see such care and creativity brought to objects that most people today would discard. It’s the battle scars that give the pieces their personality, that make them unique. Much like, Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold leaf, these beautiful repairs reflect a resourcefulness, resolve and imagination in the maker that is wholly beautiful.

when it rains

October 21, 2023

People often ask me if wet, dreary days like these make me feel at home. “Just like England, eh?” It’s true, the rain, like cheddar and tea, makes people think of England. Funnily enough, I don’t remember it raining much at all when I was a kid. I’m sure it did all the time, but children don’t notice or care about the weather the way adults do. Kids aren’t making contingency plans or worrying about catching a chill if they get caught in a downpour. They don’t care about consequence or being cold and wet as long as they’re having fun. “My childhood winters were so much colder than they are today,” said a studio mate this morning as we lamented the lack of natural light. “But I don’t think I payed attention to the cold. Children don’t.” It wasn’t until I moved to Norfolk in the late 90s that I realized how I much it rains in England. The combination of incessant drizzle and Brutalist architecture made for a rather gray time. Thank heavens for brilliant house mates. The line between childhood and adulthood is blurry. For me the shift was at around 19. I lived on my own. I was out in the world. I started noticing the weather.


October 16, 2023

I learned the word, Weltschmerz this week, which in German literally translates as, “world pain.” It’s a feeling triggered by the inexplicable pains and evils of the world, when our ideals of how the world should be collide with the darkest of realities. I learned the word from a dear friend of mine, who like many people this week, had to support her child through many questions and anxieties around the war in the Middle East. It’s a devastating thought, that our collective heart is as heavy as it is right now. With the very essence of our shared humanity being so brutally challenged, how could it not be. These words from Toni Morrison bring solace. “No more apologies for a bleeding heart when the opposite is no heart at all. Danger of losing our humanity must be met with more humanity.”


October 5, 2023

Only my Mum would describe the red of the walls in her new home as “porphyry”. It’s esoteric. Pretentious, even. But not coming from her. Earlier in the week, we spent half an hour discussing what white she’ll paint over the porphyry with. White is her default wall colour. A blank canvas for the colourful textiles, objects and paintings that she travels from home to home with. “The cabinets will be stone,” she says. “As in grey?” I ask. “No, stone.” She means a creamy white, the stones that wash up on a Greek island beach, maybe. I find people’s associations with colour fascinating, how memories and past experiences influence the images and ideas that come to mind when we think of a specific colour. Our perception of colour varies, too. My winter coat is chartreuse. “I love your yellow coat,” some people say. “I love your green coat,” say others. Neither one is wrong. Perception is everything. “I think the cashmere has too much yellow in it,” she says. “The walls will look like they were painted with vanilla ice cream.” How delicious. I suggest Benjamin Moore’s OC-122 –– my go-to for a crisp but warm white. “Anything’s better than porphyry.”

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